Today is day #767 on this particular journey and I just got home from a vacation to Canada and the US to visit friends and family. It was a great trip, to be sure. I checked visiting Alcatraz off of my bucket list and ate more food than I care to admit. I also introduced my girlfriend to everyone and enjoyed some rest, relaxation and had lots of laughs. And for once I hung out in all my old haunts and remember the whole time! Continue reading “Great trip, better lesson.”
Today is day #732 in this particular journey. It’s a good one, too. June 1st. My sober birthday!
It’s been two years since I’ve had a drink. I can now measure my sobriety in years! Plural!
I don’t think I gave myself any real chance at 90 days. I didn’t think I could live without alcohol for any real amount of time. I looked at people in the Program of Alcoholics Anonymous as a bunch of weirdos sitting in the rooms reminiscing about the good times. I understood that they were there and it helped them, but I didn’t see the appeal. I certainly didn’t see or even guess what kind of impact those rooms would have on my life. I couldn’t have dreamed how much good the program would do for me. How much compassion, love, acceptance understanding and help I’d get from these people who are just like me.
Well, I think I’ve mentioned the amount of things that have changed in my life in previous blog entries. I won’t make a list or even highlight reel. But I could. But the thing that has changed the most is who I am. The very essence of who I am. The exterior hasn’t changed a hell of a lot in two years (though I’ve found a few gray hairs!). But the inside is a very different place.
The best thing I could compare it to would be a dilapidated home with a strong foundation. See, the house itself was perfectly intact. It wasn’t crumbling and wouldn’t for a long time, probably. But it wasn’t a pretty house. It was a shit hole that wasn’t comfortable for anyone or anything. It wasn’t fun to be around and it wasn’t a viable option to live in. But now? It’s been spruced up. It’s been gutted and rebuilt. It’s a great place to be. Comfortable and in good shape. It’s under new management, so to speak.
The program has done things for me that I never thought I would be capable of doing for myself. Ever. Sober or not. It has, sorry to use poor grammar, ‘grown me up’. It’s put me in a place where I growing up isn’t something that I have to do, but is something that is the result of learning how to manage life on life’s terms. It’s about learning that being selfish isn’t going to be the right choice 99% of the time. It’s about understanding that I am flawed, not in the spiritual sense, but in the sense that some of my base instincts are harmful. But that I am capable to seeing this, staring it in the face and overcoming it. It’s about things like learning to live my life without something to use as a crutch!
As much as I’m aided from all sides by an army of people in my life, I am able to do it ‘on my own’ in a sense. I’m not relying on a substance to numb myself. I’m not smoking a joint, I’m not drinking a beer and I’m not doing anything else to make things ‘easier’. And it’s going SO well!
I have so many people to thank. I genuinely couldn’t have gotten sober on my own. Don’t think for a second that I’m not thankful every single day for my sobriety and that includes being thankful for all the words of support, love and wisdom. Every single person who has given me words of support is owed unending gratitude. Friends, my partner Elli, family, people from my past, acquaintances, people I’ve just met, people I’ve always known, everyone: Thank you. I love you. You’ve given me my life back. I can never repay what you’ve done.
My name is David and I can not drink today (and I’m pretty happy about that!). That’s about as far as I’m willing to go.
Thanks for reading. I wish you another 24.
A friend of Bill
Today is day #685 on this particular journey and I thought it was time to explain how I got ‘here’. I’m not about to write my life story. For two reasons: a. It’s simply not that exciting. And, b. one step 4 was enough! But I’d like to touch on how I went from being an amateur to being a professional drunk!
I don’t think I became an alcoholic. I don’t think I drank my way to alcoholism. I mean, I did, but there is more to it. I don’t do moderation very well, as I’ve noted in different posts. I don’t do “half measures” to quote the big book. This can be a good thing at times. When I get excited about something I can focus my attention well. I bought an exercise bike a few months ago and I ride it religiously. I don’t ride it for a little while, I ride it like my life depends on it. When I find a food I like I’ll happily eat it at every meal. Subway would bankrupt me if I let it. I could go on, but my point is this: I was born to be an all or nothing kind of person.
I feel as though a lot of alcoholics would tell you they drank because it gave them courage. Or, it allowed them to come out of their shell. Well… I you’ve ever met me, you know that I don’t need beer to come out of my shell. Hell, if anything if you gave me enough beer it would knock me out and probably quiet me down sooner I ever would on my own! Continue reading “Born to Drink!”
Today is day #678 on this particular journey. Today I thought I’d share something that you might hear in a meeting, assuming you attend one, that is. “Research” means something totally different in the context of a meeting than it does outside a meeting.
Scientific research is a wonderful thing. Finding out how the world works, curing disease or even just improving the lives of people in general; it’s a good thing. In terms of an alcoholic it takes on a bit of a dark tone. You see, research is being done, in a way. But it’s never going to lead to any kind of positive, life-improving discovery. Much the opposite, really. Research in the context of AA is someone who has returned to the bottle. It’s a scary thing. Continue reading ““Research””
It’s day #670 on this particular journey. I’m writing today about something that probably doesn’t apply to most alcoholics. Either in recovery or not, this is something that is all Dave. That being said, we’re a group of similar people, so who knows!
Getting sober has taught me a million things about myself. Among those things is that I don’t do well with compliments. It’s paradoxical because I want people to like me, (everyone wants that!) I want people to approve of me and think I’m interesting. But for some reason if someone says something complimentary of me it makes me uncomfortable. Even my partner, Elli, complains that she can’t just say something nice to me and not make me uncomfortable! Again, it’s a paradox; all I want is to make her happy and proud of me, but god forbid she express these things! Continue reading ““Congratulations!””
It’s day #667 on this particular journey. Picture this:
You’re sitting on the front porch sipping your morning coffee. It’s an espresso, high quality coffee, too. It’s early in the morning and you’re happy to be up early; it’s not a challenge to roll out of bed each morning. You’re overlooking the lake in your backyard and the mist rolling off of it. Your dog is at your feet and has fallen back asleep after getting up with you.
You’re comfortably retired at only 45 years old, thanks to your hard work and investments. It’s been a good life. Your wife, to whom you are happily married, is still asleep. This is your time. You only have a couple of things to do for the whole day and drinking your coffee completes half of the list. Not a bad day to be you, but then there never are.
That all sounds good, eh? I mean to me it does, but that’s what I think of as a perfect life. (Or, close enough anyway) Well this is what I was promised* at AA. When you get into the rooms and start to ‘work’ the program you are told you can have a life beyond your wildest dreams. My sponsor, upon describing when someone first spoke this phrase to him, once said, “Man, I thought to myself ‘I dunno, man! I have some pretty wild dreams!'” And you could put me in that boat, too! Continue reading ““A life beyond your wildest dreams””
Today is day #664 on this particular journey and it was a matter of time. God, eh? Some people really love God. I for one, used to. Now, I don’t believe there is a God. Luckily I live in a part of the world where my opinion is both allowed and shared. I am all in favour of someone’s right to believe in and worship a God (I even think you should be able to pick which one!). I am a supporter of your right to believe whatever you like. But, for me personally, God is irrelevant.
However when it comes to AA, recovery and the steps, unfortunately, it really isn’t that clean cut. I have no problem with another person using God as a means to get or stay sober. Hell, I’d encourage just about anything to accomplish that. The problem for me is that I have put one hell of a lot of work into being sober. I’ve lost a lot to alcoholism and I am not going to hand over the praise/credit to (what I consider to be an imaginary) character. If I’m going to give credit to a fictional literary character I’m going with Dumbledore. Or maybe Randall Flagg. (Google that!) Continue reading “A Higher Power”